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2011-2012 WMS Advisory Community Service Project 1 We’re making a difference!

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Presentation on theme: "2011-2012 WMS Advisory Community Service Project 1 We’re making a difference!"— Presentation transcript:

1 WMS Advisory Community Service Project 1 We’re making a difference!

2 Greenwood Cemetery 2 Founded in 1874, Greenwood Cemetery is the oldest non-sectarian (not belonging to a particular religious group) cemetery for African Americans in St. Louis County. An estimated 50,000 people are buried there, including an aid to Abraham Lincoln; civil rights leader Charlton Tandy; Harriet Scott, the wife of Dred Scott; veterans of the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War; and many great blues musicians, businessmen and educators.

3 Greenwood Cemetery was listed on The National Register of Historic Places February 24,

4 What happened to Greenwood Cemetery? With desegregation the need for separate cemeteries eventually ended. By the 1980s all three commercial black cemeteries in the city had been sold to new owners, who soon discovered that there was no money to maintain the facilities. The only source of income was the sale of new plots—and this did not bring in enough money for the maintenance needs at Greenwood. The result was that the cemetery rapidly declined and became a dumping ground and target for vandals. With desegregation the need for separate cemeteries eventually ended. By the 1980s all three commercial black cemeteries in the city had been sold to new owners, who soon discovered that there was no money to maintain the facilities. The only source of income was the sale of new plots—and this did not bring in enough money for the maintenance needs at Greenwood. The result was that the cemetery rapidly declined and became a dumping ground and target for vandals. 4

5 The cemetery has become overgrown and many of the historic tombstones have fallen into disrepair. 5

6 Erosion and overgrowth are major problems at Greenwood. Headstones are being lost at an alarming rate. 6 Greenwood Cemetery - Aug Photo by Etta Daniels

7 Headstone Reassembled. This stone marking the burial site of Thomas Rogers ( ) was damaged by both erosion and overgrowth. 7

8 8 Greenwood Cemetery - Aug Photo by Cheryl Nelson

9 Burial site damaged by overgrowth 9 Greenwood Cemetery - Aug Photo by Etta Daniels

10 A tree grew right over the headstone of Benjamin Parham, a member of the United States Army, who died on July 1, – 10

11 11 Due to lack of funding for headstone restoration and maintenance an attempt is being made to preserve at least an image of each stone. In addition to the obvious purpose of identifying the deceased, headstones provide a great deal of information about individuals and their family and community ties.

12 12 What can you tell about this person just from looking at the headstone?

13 13 By looking at his headstone, Erskine D. Johnson appears to be a physician, a Christian, and married. He was almost 77-years-old when he died.

14 Sometimes headstones can be repaired. A student volunteer is searching for a missing headstone picture by digging around the perimeter of the stone. 14

15 Yea! It was located. Results… 15 Greenwood Cemetery - Aug Photo by Etta Daniels

16 Some stones are beyond repair and a piece of history is simply lost. 16

17 17 We can help photograph some of Greenwood’s headstones and grave markers. Cheryl Nelson, Photographer Volunteer

18 18 We can also help clear away some of the brush/weeds overtaking the cemetery. Cheryl Nelson, Photographer Volunteer

19 19 The acre cemetery is divided into 22 burial lots.

20 Take a look at how other groups have volunteered their time… 20

21 Chaminade Preparatory School 21

22 Washington University Business School 22

23 The Mormon Church “Helping Hands Program” 23

24 Pattonville High School faculty members 24

25 Normandy High School 25

26 AmeriCorps 26

27 St. Louis RAMS Organization 27

28 The Friends of Greenwood Cemetery has the following on their “to do” list…… acres of land to be cleared 46 years of death records research needs to be done 9000 headstone photos need to be taken An endowment fund for perpetual care needs to be established

29 Greenwood’s Future Even though it is not open for new burials, Greenwood Cemetery is a significant historical and cultural resource for the St. Louis community. Even though it is not open for new burials, Greenwood Cemetery is a significant historical and cultural resource for the St. Louis community. 29

30 Greenwood’s Future As they build their research files, Greenwood is becoming a source of data for research on African American life during the late 19 th and 20 th centuries in the St. Louis area. As they build their research files, Greenwood is becoming a source of data for research on African American life during the late 19 th and 20 th centuries in the St. Louis area. 30 Dr. Field Bleven

31 They need our help, and as a community, we’re able to give it. 31 Check out this little helper!

32 Ready to lend a hand? Ready to lend a hand? Wednesday, September 14, 2011

33 Resources: wood/ wood/ wood/ wood/ seriousrabbit.blogspot.com/2009/.../greenwood- cemetery-st-louis.html seriousrabbit.blogspot.com/2009/.../greenwood- cemetery-st-louis.html 33


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